By: Attorney Susan A. Hansen, lawyer
There are daily articles and online posts about the impact of divorce on families. Divorce, particularly high conflict divorce, can also impact businesses. Here are five common ways that a business can be affected when an employee is going through a divorce:
Reduced focus and productivity
The emotional toll of divorce can distract employees and contribute to less focus and attention and increased errors.
The emotional trauma can impact health and increase absenteeism. The time demands of the legal process, as well as potential increased demands for child care when parents separate, can cause increased tardiness and absenteeism.
When divorces are high conflict, formal demands for extensive document production can be directed at the employer. In some cases, management or business owners are even compelled to testify regarding payroll, benefits and personnel issues.
Payroll, benefits, and tax issues
Divorce impacts benefits, insurance coverage, payroll deductions, and potential child support or spousal maintenance income assignments.
Business valuation disputes
If one of the spouses has an ownership interest in the business, there may be demands from lawyers or hired experts for appraisals, accounting records, or other business internal documents to support legal claims.
The common thread in each of these business disruptions is not the divorce itself, but the conflict inherent in litigation. These negative impacts on businesses can be minimized if spouses choose processes such as mediation or collaborative divorce which are designed to minimize conflict. Business owners should be aware of these options to help employees make positive choices and lessen the cost of divorce for their employees and their business.
Susan Hansen practices family law and mediation at Hansen & Hildebrand, S.C. Contact her at (414) 273-2422 or contact us to discuss your concerns and get the legal advice you need to decide next steps.
Parents considering divorce or separation must make decisions that will affect their children for
a lifetime. COVID restrictions may have a profound impact on these decisions for the near
future. Parental decisions include a placement schedule, how to manage holidays, and how to
navigate future issues such as significant others. Each family is different, and each set of
parents may choose different approaches to help them come to these decisions. Couples can
have these discussions on their own, get support and guidance from a neutral child specialist
mediator, do a collaborative out-of-court team process, or take their disputes to court for a
judge to make decisions for them. Reaching a mutual decision is best given that parents’ ability
to work together and manage conflict is the main predictor of how their children will adjust to
divorce and separation. If you have questions about process options and the impact on your
children, please consider reaching out to me as a child specialist or to a lawyer mediator at
Hansen & Hildebrand S.C
What is a Family Plan
The Family Plan (aka Parenting Plan) is a written document that represents the agreements between parents regarding:
The Family Plan is ideally detailed to avoid potential conflicts and to allow parents the opportunity to think about specific situations before they occur in hopes of creating a scenario that goes well for the children in the future. The plan is also made part of the court agreement and final judgment.
What is the Focus of the Plan?
The Family Plan should focus on the children; prioritizing the children’s physical needs (e.g., nap/sleeping routine, eating routine, medical care, protection from harm), emotional needs (e.g., relationship with parents, temperament, levels of anxiety, etc.), developmental needs (e.g., younger children need more frequent contacts with each parent than adolescents; younger children need more supervision and parent direction than older children), social needs (e.g., time with friends, time in activities), and educational needs (e.g., space and time to study, parent support and participation). Parents need to discuss and make specific agreements about how each child’s needs will be met, including how to address future issues or changes. A child specialist can help assure the children have a voice without the pressure of making a choice between their parents.
What if I Find this Difficult
Divorce and separation are emotionally challenging experiences for parents and children alike. Crafting a plan can be challenging for even the best-intentioned co-parents. Investing in a child specialist process that supports your family and helps create a thorough, child-focused family plan is well worth the effort to assure the future well-being of your children. It is an opportunity to help the children understand that mom and dad are working together for their good and it is an effective way to create a plan that can support the children in their adjustment while also decreasing the risk of parent conflict in the future. It can also help you address concerns of adult children.
Feel free to contact me to identify helping professionals who are available to support you and your family through the process.
Casey A. Holtz, Ph.D.
By: Attorney Lindsey A. Kujawa
While it may feel like you are negotiating a divorce in anticipation of your wedding day, the financial topics associated with prenuptial agreements clarify expectations and can create a strong foundation for your marriage. Most prenups address both divorce and estate planning so you need to be sure you work with a lawyer who has expertise in both areas of law. If you are unable or unwilling to communicate and jointly create a clear financial and legal plan before you get married, you may unintentionally set the stage for future marital issues.
A prenup is a valuable way to plan for your future together. Done right, it can be a positive experience for both of you.
In Wisconsin, the following criteria help assure a clear and enforceable agreement:
1. Each person is represented by an attorney
It is not required that a prenuptial agreement involve two lawyers, but the fairness requirements for validity set up in Wisconsin caselaw invite a challenge wherever parties are unrepresented. The best, most enforceable prenups are made with the assistance of collaborative counsel working together to ensure that the parties are making informed decisions.
2. Each person needs to fully disclose their finances to the other
A thorough financial disclosure is key to informed decision making. Having an understanding of the complete financial picture allows parties to structure their agreement to meet financial needs and provides certainty of expectations.
3. Don’t forget financial agreements during the marriage
A prenuptial agreement is more versatile than simply “who gets what in a divorce” or “who gets what at death”. A well-drafted prenuptial agreement also addresses household finances and asset/debt allocation during the marriage.
4. Timing matters
Each party must have adequate time to review the agreement and understand all of its terms .The best practice is to begin the negotiation well in advance of the wedding date to ensure neither party feels rushed. Last minute agreements can also be a basis for court challenges later.
Some couples decide they need a financial agreement long after their wedding. It is an option to create a postnuptial agreement using the above criteria. The one exception is timing. A postnuptial agreement may not be valid if entered into in anticipation of divorce. Any divorce agreement is not simply contractual, but must be approved by the court. Postnuptial agreements can help couples clarify financial allocations and obligations to avoid ongoing conflict and create a foundation for future decisions about finances and estate planning.
Lindsey A. Kujawa practices family and estate planning law at Hansen & Hildebrand, S.C. Contact her at (414) 273-2422 or contact us to discuss your concerns and get the legal advice you need to decide next steps.
Given the current safety and shelter directives, you may be wondering if and how family law matters are proceeding. They are and, as you might expect, it is through the use of technology.
At Hansen & Hildebrand, it is possible for the entire legal process to proceed without in-person contact with your lawyer or a court official.
CONSULTING AND SETTLEMENT MEETINGS
We are conducting meetings via video conferencing, which permits audio and visual communication including document sharing on the screen. Participants only need a screen, camera, and speaker. Almost all phones, tablets and laptops are already equipped for free video conferencing. Communication also occurs via phone and email as our lawyers and staff are all working remotely.
DIGITAL FILE SHARING
We use encrypted file sharing software as a secure and easy way to share documents. This works as a remote file cabinet where clients can both upload and review the documents and files necessary to manage your case.
All Wisconsin counties are required to accept court documents by electronic filing. The electronically filed version is considered the “original.” We eFile documents directly from our computers to the court via the court’s secure server.
All documents can be signed with our firm’s secure e-signature software. We will email you the documents and you can simply sign with a touch screen or by typing your name.
Many courts are holding hearings with phone and Zoom video conferencing. If you and your spouse are able to reach agreement on settlement terms, in some counties a divorce can even be granted without a personal, video, or phone appearance. Trials and contested hearings with witnesses are generally being delayed, however.
We accept credit card payments via a secure Internet portal.
We have adopted and obtained the tools and modifications to handle all case types including negotiation, litigation, collaborative and mediation. For more information about remote mediation, see our Virtual Mediation page.
The Hansen & Hildebrand Family Law Team is here to assist if you are considering divorce, even amid the stay-at-home restrictions in Wisconsin. For questions or a complimentary phone consult, call Hansen & Hildebrand, S.C. at (414) 273-2422.
The Hansen & Hildebrand Family Law Team also practices in the following areas:
During this time of crisis and anxiety, we want everyone to remain safe and healthy. It is also important to plan ahead and legally protect your family as much as you can.
We are available to prepare Estate Plans, including Powers of Attorney for Healthcare Decision Making. Here are 4 considerations as you think about creating or updating an estate plan:
1. Most of the work can be done remotely
We are able to coordinate by email, telephone, and video conference through Zoom to gather information, discuss strategy and even review draft documents. A brief appointment to sign in front of socially distant witnesses is the only in-person requirement.
2. Your wishes must be in writing to be fulfilled
Whether you are nominating a guardian for minor children or trusting a responsible friend or family member to carry out your healthcare decision making or financial planning, relying on informal discussions can backfire and create a legacy of unnecessary conflict – or no enforceable plan at all.
3. Proper Estate Planning Saves You Time and Money
Advance planning with Powers of Attorney and Trust or Titling documents avoids the need for costly guardianships and expensive, time-consuming probate court and confusion in a crisis.
4. Any planning is better than no planning
Whether you would like a comprehensive trust package to avoid probate and transfer your assets through a private, out of court process or you simply want to be covered with healthcare directives, we are available to meet your need.
For questions or a complimentary phone consult, call Hansen & Hildebrand, S.C. at (414) 273-2422
The Hansen & Hildebrand Family Law Team also practices in the following areas: